Half-pass is basically a travers ridden across the diagonal. It is a sideways – forwards movement with the horse flexed in the direction of travel and it is a great suppling exercise. You are ready to try half-pass when your horse has mastered the other lateral exercises such as leg-yielding, shoulder-in and travers ánd you are in control of tempo and carriage.
In half-pass the horse is moving forwards and sideways across two tracks and this movement can be performed either in collected trot or canter. The horse´s body is moving forwards – sideways with his main frame staying virtually parallel to the long side. The horse must cross his legs with the outside legs crossing in front of the inside legs with the horse looking the way he is going. The horse is lightly bent around the rider´s inside leg with the forehand leading and the hindquarters following slightly behind.
Riding zigzag half-passes from left to right and back is a good way to monitor if your horse is indeed equally supple on both sides. In this episode we will deal with both the trot as well as the canter half-pass.